Participants of the study tour from Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana visiting a family farm and machinery ring member in Lower Saxony.
Photo: DBV


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One of the basic conditions of empowering farmers is to get them organised. Machinery rings are a promising organisational concept to link up the farms and raise their profitability and power by promoting mechanisation in rural areas.

African agriculture is mainly characterised by small-scale structures, and the level of mechanisation is very low. European farms faced a similar situation after the Second World War. With the aid of machinery rings, they quickly achieved a higher degree of mechanisation. Furthermore, it became apparent that machinery rings can significantly contribute to socio-economic development in rural areas by boosting income generation, enhancing livelihoods and contributing to food security.

In this context, leading representatives – small as well as large-scale farmers – of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) had been invited by the German Farmers’ Association (DBV) to a one-week study tour to Germany in May 2014 to discuss key conditions for the success of machinery rings. The ideas and impressions obtained are to support the development of a tailor-made strategy for African countries.

But what exactly is a machinery ring? It is an association of individual farmers with the aim of sharing agricultural machinery and equipment.

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